That’s What I’m #Trending: Why Can’t You Lose Weight? #Food!

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I have recently been all about #Trending things on Thursdays, but this week I am just trending #Food.

People often complain to me about their inability to lose weight and when I ask them what they are eating…I just hear a lot of chemicals and very little actual food.  When I first started my journey – I thought I knew how to eat – turns out I didn’t but I learned over time.  I was never a Lean Cuisine kind of girl, but I certainly was all about calories in and calories out (fat free, low fat, 100 cal pack, etc.) and would occasionally see results but would never tighten up to the degree that I desired.

Over the past few months since I have stuck to a clean diet and only consume real, whole foods – it has been impossible not to notice the various changes throughout my entire body.  Sure I have lost weight and tightened up; however, overall my health, skin, mental clarity, radiance, and energy levels are through the roof.

If you eat actual real food and not things packaged as “100 calorie packs” or “lean cuisines” or “reduced guilt” you will be more inclined to lose weight – those marketing schemes are 90% chemicals and 10% food devoid of any real nutritional value.  Our bodies’ digestive system is not designed to break down chemicals created in laboratories.  So yeah, you cannot lose weight because although you are eating 1,200 calories a day – your body does not know what to do with or how to breakdown the food-like substance you are ingesting.

I typically shop the periphery of the market – fresh fruits, veggies, organic milk, fresh caught fish (not farmed), Ezekiel Bread (the primary bread I will eat in America – in Europe bread has fewer additives so much so that I can actually consider it to still be bread). When I venture down an aisle – let’s say for peanut butter and I read the label –  if there are a bunch of words that I have to sound out, cannot pronounce, that I know I cannot find down another aisle in the supermarket, or would have to consult a high school AP Chemistry textbook to figure out – then the item stays on the shelf and goes on to my “That is Not Food” List.

I am not saying that the only way to lose weight is to eat raw daily and down wheatgrass shots to lose weight – although that will do the trick. Just limit your intake of foods that are not whole foods to your cheat day – and consume primarily fresh fruits, veggies, and organic meats and dairy – and you will see results!

My favorite weight loss food consumption rule.

Grocery shopping for weight loss 101

 

* Editor’s Note: After nearly 100 years of making actual real ice cream – Breyer’s Ice Cream was sold in 2006 and now contains chemicals…it is on my “That is Not Food” List.

That’s What I’m #Trending: NutriBullet

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Juicers are OUT – Nutrition Extractors are IN!

A few weeks ago I fell asleep with the television on and was brainwashed by an infomercial as I slept.  I have a tendency to dream about and retain information that I hear while I am sleeping – so when I woke up I added the NutriBullet to my Christmas List and Santa listened. The irony of it all was that last year one of my gifts was a juicer and I juiced for about two months straight and then intermittently thereafter but I got so sick of cleaning the juicer, discarding all of the pulp, and there were so many parts and pieces…needless to say that it just sat there and collected dust from summer until I boxed it up on Christmas Day.

So why is the NutriBullet so amazing? 

The NutriBullet extracts and liquefies the micronutrients out of the ingredients so that you absorb them entirely and quickly, whereas a juicer only extracts some of the micronutrients and discards the pulp and fiber.  A sip of my first “NutriBlast” (oh yeah there is a whole language for this thing) and honestly I was hit with a burst of energy – my legs literally tingled.  I am not a morning person – especially when I wake up and it is dark and only 12 degrees out, but after I take a sip I am ready to skip and sing like Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music.

The clean up is beyond simple – literally took me five minutes to make a drink and clean up everything.   It is small enough to pack in your carry-on when going on vacation. I enjoy that it is so small and powerful - we have that in common.

There is also a milling blade – which you can utilize to make your own peanut butter – so friends of mine please anticipate random gifts from me in the future.

Additionally, there is an online community of fellow Blasters who share recipe ideas and the benefits of including certain ingredients.

The blasts are incredibly filling.  At first glance you might think – how can this atomic green (my blasts often mirror something out of Ninja Turtles II: Secret of the Ooze)  juice fill me up, but I have never sat down and eaten two cups of kale, an apple, a pear, some berries, mango, Greek yogurt, and some seeds or nuts in one sitting. An added bonus is that the beverages are not only nutritious – but incredibly delicious and refreshing!

Currently, I am blasting twice a day and have never felt better.  I have “sold” nine bullets to friends and family – I think NutriBullet should start sending me some royalty checks :) ; however, I don’t mind being a pro-bono ambassador.

Early train ride with My Ninja Turltle Secret of the Ooze Juice...with accompanying sewer gloves - it is cold in NYC!

Early train ride with my Ninja Turtle Secret of the Ooze Juice…with accompanying sewer gloves – it is cold in NYC!

Here are some of my favorite Blasts thus far:

My Favorite Mix: kale, mango, pineapple, ginger, chia seeds, and coconut milk

Antioxidant Blast: Kale, spinach, pomegranate, blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, water

Oh I will NOT get sick blast!: Kale, mango, blood orange, lemon juice, grapefruit seed extract, ginger, clove of garlic, dash of cinnamon, hemp and chia seeds, water or coconut water, blend – then add a dash of cayenne.

Post workout Protein Blast: Spinach, Syntha-6 chocolate chip cookie dough protein powder, greek yogurt, PB2 (peanut butter powder), flax seeds, water

Pumpkin Pie Blast: Kale, canned pumpkin, Syntha-6, pumpkin pie spice, agave nectar, cinnamon, hemp seed, water

Other uses that I found for my Bullet: great for making soup, English-styled mushy peas, curry sauce from scratch, and hummus.

I have officially been using the NutriBullet for a month and my skin and eyes are as bright as ever, I am vibrant and energetic, and my body is getting leaner by the day. Other people who have started using the Bullet at my suggestion have lost 5-7 lbs in their first week to 10 days.  This can be a wonderful lifestyle change or an excellent way to incorporate more fruits and veggies into your diet – either way it is what I am #trending right now and I highly recommend it.

Adventures in Carb Cycling

Carb-cyclng is done! (Click on the link to the left for an explanation if you have no idea what I am talking about). It turned out to not be completely horrible, difficult, or impossible – once you establish a routine. It is also a great way to shred fat and expose muscle rapidly when combined with a solid fitness program.  The most difficult part for me was explaining my eating patterns to family and friends and then trying to convince them that you are not insane. I mean who walks around with several packets of tuna or mixes up protein shakes in restaurants while everyone else is eating actual meals?

For me – the most challenging part was completing high carb days.  The endless amount of relentless eating was difficult.  One high carb day involved two whole wheat bagels, fruit, curried chick peas, a veggie marsala burger, a mango smoothie, protein powder (twice), a shrimp caesar salad wrap, and two sweet potatoes (and i know that I am leaving something out).  The following high protein low carb day was a breeze because I was still full from the day before.

Below are some snapshots of a couple of meals:

On low carb days I ate a lot of eggs, greek yogurt, greek yogurt with protein powder mixed in, milk, tuna, salmon, shrimp, salad, peanuts, and protein powder.

On higher carb days I ate green grapes, mango coconut milk smoothies, whole grains, sweet potatoes, beans, and still consumed a lot of protein, but kept my fat intake low.

Every day: This Protein Powder, mixed with Ronny Brook Farms Skim Milk and 6 ice cubes…is to die for. Delicious, filling, and the perfect calorie-carb-protein-fat ratio. Used about twice a day.

Low Carb Day: Fat Free Plain Chobani, Whole Wheat Toast, Peanut Butter & Company Maple Peanut Butter, Gummy Vitamins (which also have carbs)

High Carb Day Breakfast: Whole Wheat Bagel, 1 tbsp of Whipped Cream Cheese, Mango and Light Coconut Milk Smoothie

High Protein on the Road Snack: Package of Salmon (can find at grocery store or drug store), Fat Free Plain Chobani, Luna Protein Bar (think it was Peanut Butter and delicious)

Low Carb Breakfast or Pre/Post Gym Snack: 2 strips of Nitrate Free Bacon, Hard Boiled Eggs (Version 1 - salt, flower pepper, and sriracha hot sauce; Version 2: flower pepper, shaved parmesean cheese, and truffle cream)

High Protein Snack: Tuna

Isn't the prettiest but it was definitely tasty and a nice departure from plain tuna.

Low Carb Day Lunch: Caesar Salmon Salad (some days I substitute salmon with Shrimp) with purported whole wheat croutons (although the dont appear wheat looking - i read the label), and a baked (then mashed) sweet potato

High Carb Day Lunch: (aka wow my entire lunch is brown day): Curried Chickpeas with Veggie Marsala Burger (Available at Trader Joe's contains No Soy), Baked then Mashed Sweet Potato with cinnamon, Peanut Butter Oat Bar (Trader Joe's), Fat Free Plain Chobani

Low Carb Lunch: Buffalo Salmon Salad (poached salmon, romaine lettuce, bacon, blue cheese, Walden Farms Calorie Free Blue Cheese Dressing, whole wheat croutons), Fat Free Plain Fage Greek Yogurt, and Trader Joe's Chocolate Oat bar (whole wheat, rolled oats, and no refined sugar - but has soy (ehh))

Sometimes I like to sweeten my yogurt... Sometimes, I like to sweeten my yogurt. The Trader Joe’s Whole Grain Rolled Oat Brownie and Peanut Butter bars are awesome. A nice and healthy way to satisfy a dessert craving.

High Carb Day: Falafel and Kale Salad (chickpeas, feta, kalamata olives, cilantro and jalapeno hummus, tabbouleh, and grape leaves)

Wrapped up with a side of Five Alarm spicy peanuts and a yogurt

High Carb Day post-gym lunch: Mediterranean Wrap (hummus, chickpeas, tabbouleh,kale, graoe leaves, feta, olives,whole wheat wrap)

Lower Carb Breakfast/Post gym: Greek Scramble and one strip of nitrate free bacon

Low Carb Day DInner: Coconut Curry Haddock (sauce was made from scratch I might add), sauteed greens, and very few lentils (ran out of carbs)

Just like Pimpin’ – Carb Cycling ain’t easy…

Last night around midnight, I did some research on how to simultaneously burn fat and put on muscle. I kept coming across articles and message boards suggesting carbohydrate cycling. After reading a few articles – I called an audible, and decided to dive into carb cycling in the morning. After protein loading all day, trying a new work out, and planning my meals for tomorrow – I must say “it ain’t easy.”

Carb cycling requires a lot of meticulous planning, math, and what seems to be dietary game theory. I found some pretty awesome and incredibly useful calculators on Bodybuilding.com that gauge how you should break down your protein, carbohydrates, and fats.  So for my weight (118 lbs) for the next 2 weeks I am combing 4 low carb days, followed by 1 moderate carb day, 1 high carb day, a cheat day, and then repeating the cycle for the following week. I am doing this in conjunction with my typical 5-6 workout days per week. After two weeks – I will reevaluate and possibly continue for an additional 2 weeks.

Why I Earth would I do this? The benefit of carb cycling is that it tricks your body into delving into your fat stores and burning excess fat for fuel, all while saving muscle – provided that  your protein intake is high enough. On moderate and high carb days your body will receive the necessary re-fueling, rev up your metabolism, and do so without storing any fat. Additionally, it should be noted that on high carb days you are allowed to eat more calories (my aim is roughly 1900-2000), which also makes it a great time to do your more strenuous workout – typically legs. While on low carb days you eat fewer calories (1200-1300) but may include a higher fat ratio. Again, these numbers are dictated by your starting weight – so please consult the links included below. When executing carb cycling, as always complex carbs (whole wheat, sweet potatoes, brown rice, etc.) and  and healthy fats (avocados, fish, peanut butter, etc.) are preferable.

My LOW carb days (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) allow for:

Carbohydrates: 59 grams; Protein: 147 – 177 grams; Fat: 29 – 44 grams

My MODERATE carb day (Sunday) allows for:

Carbohydrates: 177 grams; Protein: 147 – 177 grams; Fat: 29 grams

My HIGH carb day (Monday) allows for:

Carbohydrates: 265 grams; Protein: 147 – 177 grams; Fat: 29 grams

Typically, I am not THIS diligent when mapping out my meals. Generally, I confine my restrictions to just eating clean, keeping my calories and fats low.  For over a decade, I have been a pescetarian, meaning that my diet is primarily plant and fish based (with the exception of torrid love affair with bacon which I rekindled last April – I call it being bacurious), so eating healthy is not much of a problem – but getting enough calories can be when dealing with dietary preferences and restrictions (fruit and nut allergy).

Today I had:

1. Breakfast: Chocolate and Peanut Butter protein shake (Designer Whey Protein powder, Bell Plantation PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter powder, fat-free plain Chobani Greek Yogurt, half cup of fat-free milk, and ice).

2. Lunch: Buffalo Salmon Salad (4 ounces of poached salmon, romain lettuce, 4 grams of whole wheat croutons, 1 tablespoon of wing sauce, 1 tablespoon of blue cheese crumbles, and 2 tablespoons of Walden Farms* Blue Cheese Calorie-Free dressing).

3. Snack: Trader Joe’s Chocolate Brownie Oat Bar.

4. Pre-Yoga: Starkist Tuna Pouch (AND GUM)

5. Post-Yoga: protein shake (powder and 1/3 cup low-fat milk)

6. Dinner: Kale and truffled scrambled eggs.

I’m not a psychic – but this week – I foresee a lot of poached salmon, packaged tuna, eggs, and protein powder…

(*Walden Farms uses a unique method to create calorie free products absent a bunch of chemicals that you cannot pronounce. Primarily ingredients like mustard, vinegars, spices, etc. – just found them last week )

Useful Calculators:

Calories

Carbs, Proteins, and Fats

Drinking away your goals

With the weekend rapidly approaching the “balance” aspect definitely comes into play (pun intended). I no longer go out/party all week or even every weekend for that matter. However, this weekend I have my roommate Oso’s birthday party to attend. First, let me elaborate on the fact that Oso is not really my roommate. He is one of my five best friend’s roommates. I just stay at their loft so often that they consider me a roommate. My goal for the weekend is not to overdo it – why?

Of course I hate hangovers. Of course I detest alcohol induced anxiety and metaphysical hangovers. But as I have put more and more effort into my body – I would hate to diminish all of my hard work 5/6 days out of the week by getting drunk, consuming countless empty calories, drunk eating, and then hangover binge eating the next day. That is just a superficial caloric intake reason; however, the science behind alcohol mitigating fitness goals is also compelling.

Studies have shown that alcohol consumption decreases muscle mass and elevates estrogen levels in men and women, which consequently results in fat retention, more specifically belly fat. Basically, in “leimen’s” terms  alcohol eats muscle and throws up fat.

What happens when we drink:

  • Results in ‘alcoholic myopathy’ aka muscle loss – an average loss of muscle somewhere around the 33% range. 
  • Alcoholic Myopathy may result in a decreased rate of protein synthesis, which is the process of building/gaining muscle.  
  • Alcohol slows down your metabolism. 
  • Gentlemen pay attention here: LOWERS TESTOSTERONE LEVELS and RAISES ESTROGEN LEVELS! Testosterone levels appear below average even up to a week later (so if drink regularly – try and figure out when your testosterone levels have a chance to recover)  Not to mention that high estrogen aids in fat retention and storage.

So, my goal on Friday is to have my scheduled early workout, heavy protein load to nourish my muscles, 2 or 3 festive silver tequila on the rocks, and enjoy my Saturday rest day unhungoveredly (yes, I made up that word and suggest you incorporate it into your vocabulary) and not “need” “recovery food”.

I know that all this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad news about alcohol sounds just too awful to be true so here are some articles – I had to find a few myself until I actually believed it..although all the signs were there after my freshman year of college:

http://www.acefitness.org/fitfacts/fitfacts_display.aspx?itemid=2636

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/drobson11.htm

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/dean3.htm

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